Foundation of injured Olympian sues over 'Love Your Brain'

FILE - In this May 26, 2016 file photo, former world-class snowboarder Kevin Pearce poses for a photo at a retreat in Lincoln, Vt., hosted by the Love Your Brain Foundation, started by Pearce and his brother. A near-fatal halfpipe crash while training for the 2010 Olympics ended Pearce's snowboarding career. The Love Your Brain Foundation filed a federal lawsuit in August 2016 against the Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Los Angeles, claiming it has been using the term "Love Your Brain, trademarked by the Love Your Brain Foundation. (AP Photo/Lisa Rathke, File)

A nonprofit organization set up by injured professional snowboarder Kevin Pearce to support people who have suffered brain injuries is suing a Los Angeles-based group over the right to the phrase "Love your Brain."

MONTPELIER, Vt. — A nonprofit organization set up by injured professional snowboarder Kevin Pearce to support people who have suffered brain injuries is suing a Los Angeles-based group over the right to the phrase "Love your Brain."

The federal lawsuit filed in Vermont by Love Your Brain Foundation Inc. says the Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Los Angeles has been using the term that was trademarked by Pearce's organization in 2014.

"We said, 'Wait a minute. This is not only the name of our company, it is our trademark and you can't be using our trademark,'" Geoffrey Vitt, an attorney for Love Your Brain, said Thursday. Vitt also is a board member for the Vermont foundation.

The Love Your Brain complaint, filed in August, said the Epilepsy Foundation has used the trademarked phrase in a number of website postings and on physical signs and a bus. The suit said the Los Angeles group also has been using the loveyourbrain.org website, which was previously registered to the Vermont organization but was inadvertently allowed to expire. The Vermont group now uses the domain name loveyourbrain.com.

The Los Angeles-based organization did not immediately respond Thursday to a request for comment.

Pearce was among the top U.S. snowboarders before he critically injured himself when he struck his head during half-pipe training in 2009 for the Olympics. He went through extensive rehab, and had to relearn how to walk, talk and swallow.

Pearce founded the Vermont organization in 2013, the same year it began using the phrase "Love Your Brain." The term was trademarked the following year. It has full-time staff in five states and has conducted programs in 40 states.

The Vermont group's logo features "Love Your Brain Foundation" in a purple circle; the "O'' in love is in the shape of a brain. The organization also markets and sells its own brand of products, some of which include the phrase.

Pearce started the Love Your Brain Foundation with his brother. It works to improve the quality of life of people who have suffered traumatic brain injuries through community programs, to educate young athletes about the importance of "loving their brains" and preventing concussions, and to promote public awareness of brain injury and health.

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